It’s sort of odd that I decided to start watching Star Trek. I spent my entire late teenage to early adult life avoiding becoming more enamored with Star Wars than I already was (different franchise, yes, but I’ll use that to make my point). Most of my exposure to science fiction (I’m just going to group it like that even though I know fantasy begins to work its way in here) was limited to Star Wars and before I saw those, all I knew of it was from the Star Wars clips that were used on the Muppet Babies tv show.
As I grew up I came to love it. Once I ran across an encyclopedia of planets in the Star Wars universe. I had to hold myself back. I remember thinking, This is a big step and one from which I might never recover. Good move, not buying it, because I can see where it would have led.
The other thing that made this a little unlikely — I don’t really believe in the space program. There. I said it. I just…don’t quite see the point in wasting so much money on something. Now we’ve dialed it back here in the U.S. (did they hear me complaining?), so who knows if we’ll ever get much further. That’s just one little thing about me that I think surprises some folks, especially given my interest in the genre.
I am thoroughly enjoying Star Trek: The Next Generation. No, I don’t have any lengthy critical essays to write and I doubt I’ll be doing that when I’m done either, but it’s been tremendous fun so far.
From the beginning, my favorite character has been Data. He’s so interesting and well-written. And, I do love a kind robot…excuse me, android. His longing to know what human emotion feels like is sweet and a little heartbreaking. All I really hope to get out of this is some happiness for Data. (No one spoil it for me, please!)
His observations are some of my favorite things. There was one in an episode from season 3, “Tin Man,” in an exchange between Data and Counselor Troi (who may be my second favorite) that I liked a lot.
“I witnessed something remarkable. Individually, they were both so…”
“Yes, but no longer. Through joining, they have been healed. Grief has been transmuted to joy, loneliness to belonging.”
I am an entire season past that now, but it has stayed with me. It’s this beautiful moment of him starting to understand a certain kind of feeling. Even though he’s not truly experiencing emotion, it’s the closest I’ve gotten so far. There are so many moments like that on tv, film, and in books that I love — where you can see something wash over the countenance of a character…experience, understanding…that moment when they can see something for the first time. I love it.